Welcome to Sadie's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Sadie

APRIL 20, 2008 -- AUGUST 9, 2021

Our Sadie passed away on August 9th. She was 13 years old and not a day has gone by that I haven't cried. I read somewhere that grief is the price we pay for love. I understand that all too well now.

Throughout these 13 years I've always enjoyed and was always eager to share the story of the first day we met (she was not even 24 hours old and I was 41 years old) and about how it was love at first sight; that we both instantly knew we would be together forever because God had made certain our souls found one another that day.

The Beginning

Our love story began on April 20, 2008 with Allie (my daughter who was 12) and Ronnie (Allie's dad) appeared in our driveway excitedly carrying what I thought was a pile of Allie's unwashed clothes that she had brought back from his house and would undoubtedly need me to wash. But before I had time to ask I could hear something that sounded like a baby crying. They hurriedly began unwrapping the bundle of towels and there she was (Sadie) -- yet to be named) along with her even smaller twin sister. Ronnie's stray dog had just had her first litter of puppies that morning and he and Allie had found these two buried in a pile of leaves near her doghouse. Out of her litter of 8 puppies they were the runts and her twin, who died later that day, was severely deformed. As dogs and other furry mammals will do in an attempt to keep the healthy pups viable, she disposed of the weakest; she thinned the "the herd", lucky for us.

Ronnie had already spoken with the vet and on his direction had bought goat's milk, baby bottles and syringes along with instructions about being a surrogate mommy. Also, things like how often and how much to feed her and how to wipe her bottom with a wet cotton ball to make her potty after each feeding
in hopes of them having any chance at survival he brought them to me. Allie's mom. I guess because I had somehow managed to keep her alive thus far, he figured maybe I could save these little ones too:)and so began our lives together as mommy and Sadie. Since neither of us knew if this would work or not and Ronnie knowing how crushed I would be if it didn't, he thankfully and graciously was more than willing to share in the parental responsibilities.

So for the next 8 weeks (and 13 years) he agreed to be the researcher Googling everything from at what week do we increase the amount of milk at feedings, when should she start walking, when would open her eyes all the way to what should normal BMs look like and I was of course the typical mommy of an infant; up every 2 hours to feed her, rocking her to sleep and frantically calling him at all hours of the day and night to ask questions such as "is it normal that she hasn't gone pee-pee potty in 4 hours".

Over the course of our first year since becoming "mommy and Sadie" she had acquired many new friends and "babies" (stuffed animals) but Mama Duck was always her favorite and the only one slept with every night for the first six years. However just as I had done with her baby bottle, I had to wean her off of Mama Duck because all those years of Sadie "washing" her, me washing her, sewing her back together, replacing her stuffing and dragging her around the yard had taken its toll. We tried a replacement of Mama Duck but she wasn't having any part of bonding with her but eventually learned to sleep with other babies she had collected along the way. I still have her lavender baby bottle and Mama Duck. I could tell many great stories such as this one but I don't think there's enough paper and ink to hold them all.

She was such a happy girl who gave her love freely and never met a stranger. Her excitement showed every time we would return home or someone stopped by to visit. I now dread returning home every time we leave because I know Sadie is no longer here eagerly waiting to greet us at the door with a baby in tow from one of her many stashes throughout the house. Sometimes even after she went blind, she would drop the first baby as if saying "oops wrong one" then quickly disappear into a room only to return with one of her all-time favorites as a special prize for me. I never figured out how she differentiated between them but blind or not she definitely knew which one she wanted.

I now find myself literally roaming around the house at times not knowing what to do with this overwhelming feeling of empty and alone in every room is a reminder of her with babies, leashes, bowls and her beddy-bye but I'm not ready to pack it away or part with any of it. Although I cry every time, I see them I feel closer to her because they're here and for a few brief moments I can pretend that maybe she's not really gone. I feel lonely without her!

Sadie and I have had many, many, many thousands of conversations together over 13 years. I guess because for years it was pretty much just the two of us at home every day because my husband Tim would go to work and the kids would go to school. This was just fine with us two girls because we always had lots to talk about, we would even forget sometimes that Tim and the kids had come home especially if Dateline was on or something interesting was going on in the news that day. So, after all these years of listening to "us" talk (because I would talk back to myself in my "Sadie voice" as if it was her answering me) Tim special ordered this super great t-shirt for me as a surprise gift that said "Sometimes I talk to myself then we both laugh and laugh" - it came in the mail 2 days after she passed. I can't bring myself to wear it yet and still catch myself several times a day talking to her and waiting for her response on whatever subject matter I'm babbling on about. I already miss our conversations!!

During the years of 2014 to 2016 beginning when she was 6 years old, I was diagnosed with Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Thyroid cancer, Skin cancer, Sepsis and a non-specific mystery bone marrow and blood disease. And as if that wasn't enough
about midway through treatments, infusions and transfusions I had a major heart attack and surgery. Soon began our countless number of trips to Mayo Clinic and I would cry every time I left her. Through it all she was by my side, in my lap or in our bed and at the very least in the same room with me. She was my best friend, cheerleader, comforter and crying pillow. She took care of me when I couldn't take care of myself just as I had taken care of her. I couldn't have made it through those days without her snuggling beside me.

Shockingly after 2 long years of her tirelessly nursing me back to health my Sadie suddenly (literally overnight) went blind from acute onset of adult diabetes on March 7, 2016, she was 8 years old. I was devastated and scared; however once again she was every bit as determined to survive this as the day she was born and I was just as determined to save her. We changed her dog food to a prescription brand which thankfully she loved, gave her an insulin shot twice every day, thyroid medicine and an occasional antibiotic but other than that she remained a very healthy and active doggy.
It was truly amazing to me how resilient and FEARLESS she was and since we had both come to rely upon one another to survive over the years we simply did what we do best; had a brief strategy planning pep talk, stepped into action and into our "new normal" together.

After a few minor uh-ohs and we took some online training courses together (ha) about how to navigate with her newfound disability, within a matter of weeks she knew commands and how to find "her wall" inside the house, my ques for her to "step", when coming up on an obstacle, where her outdoor "pee-pee potty" boundaries were and where "my left" side was so she could immediately gain her sense of direction. However, Sadie's newfound confidence made her a little too brave at times and presented a much bigger obstacle that Tim and I had not taken into consideration which was she had always slept with us! Yikes!!
So, we did what any good parents would do......we took our bed off of the frame and dropped the box spring and mattress to the floor, problem solved!! We were thrilled she could still sleep with us every night and be in bed with me following the rough days of treatments.

We had all noticed especially the kids when they came to visit that over these past several months she had really started slowing down from arthritis and in addition to being blind she now had lost most of her hearing but I told myself that we were all getting older and had slowed down some since retiring. Losing her hearing seemed to be what affected her the most because suddenly she was missing a step or would hesitate to go down the two steps at our back door, run into furniture and would get confused about what room she was in all of which was surprising to us. My increasing awareness of her struggles brought me to tears almost daily because for the first time I couldn't help her and starting to realize that nothing could. But I selfishly kept asking her to please not leave me yet that I wasn't ready to let her go, knowing that I would never be ready, knowing my heart would never recover.

As much as I prayed and tried to convince myself that she would adjust to these new symptoms and recover just as she always had many times before and as much as I wanted to believe that this time would be the same but my heart was telling me that it was my turn to do what was best for her, she was counting on me to. Just as we always had, taking turns caring for one another so many times before when one of us was sick. I've always believed that God made certain we weren't sick or needing surgeries at the same time because that's when we needed one another the most. And now more than ever she needed me to brave because I also knew that her loving giving soul would suffer in silence before ever causing me tears of pain.

It was early August it wasn't yet September, the month she knew I was dreading and would need to be strong for you see I had already been preparing myself for the month of September to be especially challenging both physically and emotionally because I was starting chemo again and September 23rd would mark the three-year anniversary of my parents tragically passing away. I wasn't prepared or hadn't even considered that I may have to live through it without her. She had always pushed through and recovered but I suddenly found myself worrying and obsessing about Sadie more and more and less and less about September. I found myself bargaining with God daily because maybe in a few months after I had recovered from September's events that I would be able to accept that she was dying and let her go but then one day I just stopped. I awoke to her crying and it was like nothing I had ever heard she was laying on the floor beside our bed she was in pain and paralyzed. We spent the next few days just laying around on the floor together taking it easy watching tv, napping but mostly reminiscing. Something had changed, this time was different she was quiet now and tired and I knew I could no longer escape from what my heart was telling me.

Our beautiful baby girl Sadie went to Heaven at 5:50pm on Monday, August 9,2021.

It had been a couple of weeks since she had passed away yet I was still inconsolable broken hearted and Tim felt completely helpless. In an effort to cheer me up and in anticipation of me starting chemo infusions again; knowing that meant I would spend the majority of this month recovering in bed and for the first time would be without my loyal nursemaid, Sadie, snuggled up beside me he came home with the most beautiful Serenity Prayer windchime. He hung it right outside of our bedroom window so that I can see it and hear it throughout the night and day. I can't help but think that she's the wind that comes out of nowhere to let me know in her own loving gentle way that she still hears me talking to her and is here snuggled up in bed with me. It's been that peaceful beautiful image of her in my mind that calms me when sleep escapes me and loneliness settles in.

So.... here it is now September, the month I've been dreading and now here I am trying my best to be strong without my Sadie - just as I had promised her. I do find comfort in knowing she's at the Rainbow Bridge cheering me on with her BFFs Sissy, Zoe, Baby Boy, and Punkin!!

I started chemo again last week which equates to a lot of down time in bed and entirely too much time to miss her. But I'm beginning to wonder if this is possibly a blessing in disguise that her and God cooked up because I'm a writer so writing has always been my source of release and it's therapeutic for me, it's how I purge, it's how I heal. However, I haven't written anything in several weeks since before Sadie passed. I've had no desire to welcome the flood of emotions and despair that come with it and was fearful that once I opened the floodgates, I may never get them closed again. But now being stuck in bed with only my thoughts and tears and as brutal as it can be at times the words are pouring out onto the page along with my sadness, loneliness and grief. Up until now I've been unable to create her RB memorial, post an update on my social media much less look at pictures so hoping this will help my heart begin to heal.

I still catch myself talking to her before I remember she's no longer here and wondering if I'll ever stop crying. I don't like being awake because I'm so sad without her but I don't want to sleep either because I dream about her and my parents and wake up crying and missing them even more if that's even possible. This week will be 3 years ago that my Mama and Daddy passed away so I've had to take breaks from my thoughts and writing at times because it becomes too overwhelming. There's no amount of grief counseling or time that can ever take away the kind of pain felt when you lose a parent much less both parents at the same moment, the pain may subside at times but it's always there waiting for you. I have to admit losing Sadie so recently has been a trigger to my grief which has made it even more harsh and devastating to relive the events leading up to their deaths. Night time is still the hardest for me after everyone has gone to bed and the busyness of the day is gone that's when the silence has a way of drowning out my every thought and start the bad dreams that seem all too real. Sadie was quick to scoot up even closer as if to let me know that she was awake too and knew that I was now scared of the dark. She would even fight going back to sleep herself until we would eventually make our way to the living room to turn the news on as a way to distract myself and only then would she doze off beside my chair. Ohhh what I would give to have her beside me in bed and near my chair this week but I know her spirit is here and she can hear me talking to her, just as we always have. But I feel lonely without her.
Everyone keeps reminding me that she lived a long and happy life and to think about how she's free from pain and no longer blind so she can run and play now and all of the other polite stuff people say after a loss.
But the truth is....my heart is broken and I feel as though I've lost my parents all over again and nothing will ever be the same. I'll never be the same.

As I bring Sadie's memorial tribute to a close it's with thanks to those she loved most and with special thanks to my husband Tim aka Sadie's Daddy:

I'm so very thankful that the three of us were able to spend every day of the last 3 years of her life together living here in Michigan. I think she would agree they were some of the happiest and most special!!! Mostly thank you for loving us and for taking such good care of us "your girls."
Sadie and I have thoroughly loved every minute we've had with you and your retirement and being at home with us every day these last three years has been the greatest thing that could've happened to us.
We've had some super fun day trip adventures together exploring new places, parks and rail trails and making new friends and even when the quarantine put our adventures on hold last year, we still had fun just hanging out around the house together especially when it snowed and you two got to plow the driveway for hours!! She was always eager to help and loved playing in the snow. I think it was her favorite!
Thank you for trying to "prepare me" these past few months as Sadie's health began to decline. You knew more so than anyone else what a loss this would be for me and I'm sure you two had a few discussions during your rail trail walks to the Acorn tree about how she's the lucky one because you'll be the one left here to deal with me and without your tag team partner to handle my nervous breakdown. I can hear you now!! Ha

You two shared a special bond apart from me and because of me. You were the only ones who knew how to comfort me when I was suffering from illness and who brought light back to my soul when the darkness of grief settled in. Thank you both for loving me so much.

Sadie was "your girl" who loved you oh so very much. The highlight of her day was going with you for her "daddy time" walks to the Acorn tree on the Rail Trail. Here's a message from Sadie to you; before we said our goodbyes on the Monday she passed away, she asked me to remind you to not be sad because she can still love you from Heaven and that she will be waiting for you across the Rainbow Bridge at the Acorn tree on the Rail Trail.

Lastly -- I would first like to say thank you to her extended family that was a big part of Sadie's life because it wasn't just her immediate family which is my husband Tim, me our children Morgan, Kyle and Allie who raised her but all of you as well, it truly did take a village. She sure did love each of you and every moment she had with all of you. Thank for loving our sweet Sadie!!

To: Allie, Tyler, Sierra, Hannah,
Dillon, Megan, Izzy, Lauren, Sam and Cory

I've watched you all grow up with Sadie and you all became a part of our family and a part of our hearts. It hit me today that you all were 13 years old in 2008 when Sadie was born and now in 2021 when Sadie went to Heaven you all are 26 years old and all grown up exactly13 years later. I'm so very proud of the adults you've grown up to be!!

I can never thank you guys enough or repay you for all the times that we had to go to Mayo Clinic and you were all quick to drop whatever was going on in your lives and literally move in for however long necessary to house sit with Sadie (and to keep Allie from accidentally burning our house down:):)
Even after Sadie went blind and required more time and attention you guys went so far as to learn how to give her insulin shots and learned her ques to help her navigate around the house and in the yard, you even went so far as to create a schedule (thanks Tyler and Sierra) to ensure that one, if not two, of you would be at the house to administer Sadie's insulin shots and medications at the same time every day and night. I never had to worry about her getting sick while we were gone and that alone made the sometime worrisome trips easier on both me and Tim.

No doubt Sadie loved mommy and daddy going out of town because to her that was like vacation party time for her, she got to stay up late and hang with you guys and was certain to get lots of extra "specials" when she was an extra good patient and listener. She loved having company and playing "hostess."

I remember she would be bummed out and a little depressed for the first few days after we would come home because the busy-busy of you guys being around was gone and weren't there to entertain her. She had SO much fun with all of you and absolutely loved it when any of you stopped by after work or a class even if just for a quick chat. She would get SO excited and almost knock me down sometimes rushing around to find a baby to greet you at the door!!

You all were so good to not only her but to me and Tim as well. We've always appreciated that you guys chose to be a part of our lives and not just because you were Allie's friends but to actually make a difference and live it "hands on" right along with us, not many adults would've even jumped into that chaotic fire but you did and without hesitation. We'll never forget what you did to help us.
Thank you for loving us but mostly thank you for loving our Sadie!!We love you all dearly!!

To Ronnie and Trina ("Mama T" to Sadie)

Thank you both for supervising and for always making sure that Tim and I never found out about anything that "went wrong" while we were at Mayo Clinic. Ha!

Thank you, Ronnie, for ALL of these years of wanting and letting Sadie come stay with you and whipping her back into shape at "Uncle Ronnie's Boot Camp" regardless of whenever, for how long and for whatever the reason whether it was for our annual vacations, weeks at Mayo and especially for when Tim's Dad passed away and we were in Michigan for 5 weeks. It's been 3 years since Tim retired and we moved to Michigan she still stays at "Uncle Ronnie's Boot Camp" during our visits to Charlotte. I had peace of mind because she was with you and for that I'm thankful. I know you how much of a loss this is for you as well and how much you will miss her too. You fell in love with her every bit as much as we did. She sure knew how special she was to you which made her love you that much more!!

Lots and lots of thanks to you Trina for all the days during those first few critical weeks that you came over to take care of Sadie so I could take a nap and giving her Mama Duck who she could cuddle up with while she was sleeping and to lay on when drinking her bottle as though she was nursing alongside her litter mates (that was brilliant). Also, for the pep talks reassuring me that she was thriving and would live a long life because I was a good mommy to her :) But most importantly I will forever be thankful to you for giving me my now, forever and always signature Sadie baby talk phrase "Goodness Gracious". Who knew it stick with us all!!Thank you for sharing motherhood with me and for always making it fun!

To Morgan, Mike, Kyle and Allie:

Thank you for teaching her how to sit, shake, spin, rollover, fetch, catch a frisbee, play soccer, do cheerleading stunts, be a flag girl and how to chase the cats back into the house when they escaped. But mostly for making my "Goodness Gracious" conversations with Sadie LEGENDARY and for always mocking my baby talk "Sadie Goodness Gracious, who's mommy's girl, yes hers is" Voice behind my back (even though you were exceptional at it Kyle ha).





"If love alone could have kept you here you would have lived forever."

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